One of the first foods Mike requested when he came home from the hospital was toast and jelly with a cup of tea. He remarked that when you’re not feeling well, you automatically revert to the comfort foods of your childhood. I had to agree and of course, that made me remember my own comfort foods.
As a child, one of the best parts of being sick was the special attention my mother showered on me. She was a good “nurse”. Mom would set me up in their big bed, turn on the TV and bring meals up to me. My favorite was Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup with a side of toast and butter. Yum!
Cream of Wheat was another sick day staple on Mom’s menu. She would boil it to a perfect consistency, sprinkle in a generous helping of brown sugar, the top it with butter that quickly melted forming rivers of yellow in the hot cereal. I can almost taste it!
Mom wasn’t the only one who babied me when I was sick. My father, in fact, was the hero of the night. Anytime I awoke with a hacking cough, he would slip downstairs to the kitchen and prepare a dose of butter and sugar. Of course, there were no microwaves, so Daddy would patiently smash the butter with the tines of a fork against a little saucer. Once the butter became soft, he added the sugar forming a wonderful concoction that would “coat my throat” and enable me to return to a peaceful sleep. To this day, if I really can’t stop coughing at night, I put together this magic medicine. I’m not sure whether it’s the precious memory or a true medicinal remedy, but it always soothes my throat and my heart. Maybe that’s exactly why we revert to childhood treats when we are not up to par. Maybe it’s not only the flavors, but the memories of how they were served with love, that somehow cures what ails us.